In a few weeks it will be time to celebrate "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men," so I wanted to get this column topic -- assessing the Middle East peace process -- in print before that theme period starts. Almost every week on television, the other pundits and I are asked to assess the fine points of the latest Mideast peace plan. Inevitably someone on the panel intones that "everybody knows the outlines of a successful peace plan." The remaining pundit panelists nod their heads in quiet, knowing assent. And it's true. If peace in the Middle East could be decided by American and European experts, we could wrap it all up by Christmas. Unfortunately, it's the Arabs and Jews who have to make peace. And they have never seen a peace plan they both like simultaneously.
Every peace plan is a minor variant on the same theme. The United States "leans" on Israel to give up land, while Israel hopes that the Arabs living on the West Bank and Gaza will say thank you very much, we are now satisfied and will stop killing Jews. Then the two peoples would cheerfully give up their historical, biblical and Koranic claims on Jerusalem, and forget about the Arabs' desire to return to the pre-1967 Israeli lands they were driven from (or left voluntarily, depending on whose history you read) a half century ago. Then, with a few minor adjustments of various lines of demarcation (and after resolving some pesky water rights issues), we will have two happy peoples living in "viable" states next to each other hugger-mugger, and dropping in for tea on each other like good suburban neighbors.
It is pitiful to see grown, well-educated and presumably worldly experts discussing this fairy tale as if it were remotely plausible in the next several years. The Middle East Jews and Arabs are ancient peoples with ancient grievances and damnably excellent (if selective) memories. While the Israeli Jews have repeatedly proven their willingness to reach a genuine peace agreement, they can be as stubborn as a Dutchman, or a company of American Marines or any other proud group of humans in refusing to sign their own death warrant by agreeing to a phony deal.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.